This dish is perfect for a meat-free Monday (or any day really), and it’s not so difficult to prepare. The key ingredient is big, ruby red ripe tomatoes.
Refrain from using pale salad tomatoes for this recipe. They’ll take ages to cook and the result is yeah, nice, but not as good as it should be.
Good breadcrumbs make the difference too. Honestly, prepare your own with some stale bread. It’s way better if the filling stays airy and crumbly rather than compact and stodgy. If you don’t have any, store-bought crumbs are good too, but I would advise you to add at least one heaped tablespoon more than the recipe requires.
Ingredients (serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side)
- 4 big ripe tomatoes
- 6 heaped tablespoons breadcrumbs
- Italian seasoning (see the post about it here, but I’ll put a reminder in the Method)
- 1 tablespoon capers in brine
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Cut the top part of the tomatoes, and scoop out the inner pulp in a bowl.
Drizzle the tomatoes with some salt and place them upside down on a piece of kitchen paper for 15-20 minutes to release the water.
In the meantime, prepare the stuffing. First, prepare the Italian seasoning with the following herbs and spices:
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or garlic paste, or a whole crushed garlic clove)
Crush the inner tomato pulp with your hands. You can also use a masher or the hand blender if you like, but I think using your hands is quite relaxing! Discard the stubborn green part where the stalk root is (you don’t need to do this if you are blitzing with the blender).
Tip in the herbs and the olive oil and mix well. Add the breadcrumbs and the capers and stir. If the mix is too goopy, add some more breadcrumbs. It should become quite dry and crumbly.
Pre-heat the oven to 175°C fan. With a spoon, fill the tomatoes with the stuffing.
Place them in an ovenproof dish, drizzle them with some olive oil and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the tomatoes are soft. If the top gets too dry, add a splash of water.
Serve them with some salad as a main, or to accompany meat as a side.